Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) has partnered with Altron and Vodacom Business on a roll-out of connectivity features and in-car WiFi on all new Toyota and Lexus models.

The Toyota Connect connectivity hub will be housed within the MyToyota app, allowing Toyota owners access to a myriad of convenience, connectivity and safety benefits.

TSAM is not only the first manufacturer in South Africa to offer a mobile app that is fully integrated with manufacturer and dealer systems, it also becomes the first in the world to offer the convergence of WiFi and connectivity features in one package across the model range.

“As of 1 September 2019, all new Toyota and Lexus models sold in South Africa will come standard with in-car WiFi including 15Gb free data (which you can top up) as well as a host of connectivity features and benefits courtesy of Toyota Connect, a major extension of the MyToyota app,” says TSAM president and CEO Andrew Kirby.

“As Toyota transitions from being an automotive to a mobility-solutions organisation, it becomes imperative to collaborate with companies whose visions align with ours,” he adds. “The importance of telematics and telecommunications in tomorrow’s vehicles cannot be overstated – hence our partnership with global technology group Altron (through Netstar) and telecoms giant Vodacom in this project.

“Consumers are increasingly becoming aware of how connected technologies can enhance their lives and our task as a forward-thinking organisation is to evolve in tandem with market expectations.”

Through its Netstar subsidiary, Altron jointly designed and developed the bespoke technology platform with Toyota, which enables Internet of Things (IoT) aspects such as telematics and fleet management.

Altron croup chief executive Mteto Nyati comments: “This locally-developed technology enables connectivity and gives real-time data to both Toyota and its customers. It positions Altron and South Africa as relevant players in the internet of things globally. We are truly excited about this collaboration.

“Once a customer has opted in, the data aggregated from the telematics module will provide insights to Toyota, their dealer network, customers, fleet owners and third-party service providers such as the Automobile Association (AA), providing accident and breakdown assistance,” says Nyati.

William Mzimba, chief officer at Vodacom Business, adds: “This partnership is a key part of Vodacom’s IoT strategy, and is a step closer to realising our ambition to create opportunities for innovation in South Africa as well as the broader continent, bolstered by growth in IoT.

“Just like smartphones, cars today will need to be connected to provide a dynamic user experience. We’re witnessing an increasing number of car buyers ranking in-car technology as important as vehicle performance. They want their cars to be safe, efficient, better equipped and fun.

“By connecting people to platforms that will manage the complexity of streaming music from the cloud, real-time traffic information and personalised roadside assistance, we can meet these growing demands.”

The benefits of Toyota Connect can be grouped into three main areas: connectivity, convenience and safety.

* From a connected point of view, the big news is that every new Toyota and Lexus will come standard with in-car WiFi – including 15Gb free data (in South Africa only) as a once-off upon activation. Thereafter, customers can top up using Toyota Connect or their banking apps.

* In terms of convenience, service booking reminds customers when their vehicles are due for servicing, factoring in all the back-end elements when booked directly on the app. The logbook facility automatically saves a digital log of the vehicle’s mileage and service history for tax-submission purposes, including auto-allocation for work and home, as well as business and personal trips. The GPS locator helps users find their vehicle easily and get a view of their trips.

* Under Safety, there is roadside assistance with impact detection – meaning that customers will have realtime support with AA-access 24/7. The battery health check reflects the real-time status of the customer vehicle’s battery health. The driver score feature encourages safer driving: customers can review their driver rating and keep track of their scores and overall driver behaviour.